Tag Archives: refurbishing

New Life for a Don Style Billiard with Vulcanite Military Bit Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is another mystery pipe for Jeff and me. It does not have any stamping on the bowl heel or on the shank. Jeff thinks he may have picked it up in Montana but it not certain. The pipe is a classic billiard shaped pipe with a bit of a cant forward. It could well be someone’s repair on a broken shank but there is something about it that makes me think it was originally made this way. There was a lot of grime ground into the finish on the briar. The bowl was moderately caked and the rim top had a light overflow of lava on the top and edges of the bowl. The rim top and the inside edge showed some damage. The stem was a straight military stem with a metal fitment on the bowl end. It was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. It was small billiard shaped bowl with a pencil style military stem and it had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the condition of the bowl. You can see the cake in the bowl as well as the lava and the damage on the rim top and edges. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some great grain under the grime coat on the bowl sides. I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime and all of the peeling varnish coat. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl show some darkening and damage. There was damage to the inner edge and it was rough. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. I forgot to take pictures of the areas on the stem that were damaged before I filled them in with super glue but you can see the general condition even with the repairs.  I started my work on the pipe by addressing some of the damage to the rim top edges. I topped the rim on a topping board with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I also flattened the area where the stem inserted into the bowl as it was damaged.I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.   I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I filled the deep tooth marks next to the button with clear super glue. Once the glue cured I flattened it out with a file to blend it into the stem surface.  I sanded the repairs with 220 grit sandpaper to further blend them into the stem surface. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Billiard Shaped Bowl on a Don Style Pipe is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored and the stem reshaped. The grain around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Don Style Billiard is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 1/8 inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 16g/.60oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Metal and Other Types of Pipe Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Don Style Brandy with Vulcanite Military Bit Stem


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is a bit of a mystery pipe for Jeff and me. It does not have any stamping on the bowl heel or on the shank. The stem was seriously over bent to the point of being impossible to smoke. The pipe is a classic Brandy shaped pipe with peeling varnish around the bowl sides and rim top. There was a lot of grime ground into the finish on the briar. The bowl was moderately caked with tobacco debris in the bowl. The rim top had a light overflow of lava on the top and edges of the bowl. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had casting marks on both sides of the stem. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There was some light oxidation on the stem surface. It was a large apple shaped bowl with a pencil style military stem and it had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava and the peeling varnish on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the casting marks on the side of the stem, the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. There is some great grain under the peeling varnish coat on the bowl sides. I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime and all of the peeling varnish coat. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work.   The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl look very good. There were still bits of varnish on the rim top. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    I cleaned up the rim top with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper. I scrubbed the bowl with alcohol and a cotton pad to remove the remaining finish on the bowl.   The bowl had been over reamed and there was a dip/pit in the bottom of the bowl that made the bottom seem quite thin. I mixed a batch of JB Weld and applied it to the dip in the bowl bottom with a folded pipe cleaner. I set it aside to allow the repair to cure.   I polished the bowl with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.    I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive.     I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. The over bent stem needed to be addressed. I took photos of the stem as it looked when I received it. I painted the vulcanite with a lighter flame to soften it. Once it was pliable I straightened it out leaving a slight bend in the to match the flow of the bowl.One the stem was straightened out I sanded out the casting marks on the sides and the tooth marks and chatter on the top and underside near the button.  I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Don Style pipe with a Brandy Shaped Bowl is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored and the stem reshaped. The grain around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Don Style Brandy is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 25g/.88oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the Metal and Other Types of Pipe Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Chunky Rusticated Champion Giant ¾ Bent Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a fellow in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. The pipe is a classic Chunky rusticated Bent Billiard shaped pipe with an interesting rustication around the bowl and shank. It is a match in style to the large chunky Billiard I just finished. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the left side of the shank and reads Champion [over] Giant. On the top of the shank next to the stem it is stamped FRANCE and on the underside of the shank it is stamped next to the stem/shank junction and reads ALGERIAN BRIAR. There were three small dots in a row on the left side of the bent saddle stem. There was a lot of grime ground into the rusticated finish on the briar. The bowl was moderately caked with tobacco debris in the bowl. The rim top had an overflow of lava on the filling in the rustication and the inner edge of the rim. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There was some light oxidation on the stem surface. It was a large, chunky pipe and it had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.    Jeff took photos of the sides and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. The rustication pattern around the bowl is unique and interesting. It is a really tight pattern. The stamping on the left side of the shank and shank ends are clear and readable and read as noted above. I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c8.html) to get a quick view of the Champion Brand. I had worked on several of the brand in the past but could not remember anything about the brand. Turns out it is Swiss Made and the three dots on the left side of the stem in the first picture below match the one I am working on. The issue from me is that it is stamped France on the band around shank end. That leaves me with a question mark.    Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl look very good. There was some debris in the rim top. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.     The stamping on underside of the shank is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The wide taper stem is nice and the photo shows the stinger in the tenon.I cleaned up the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush. I scrubbed off the top of the rim with the brush and was able to remove the tars and lava in the rustication on the rim.   The bowl was in excellent condition so started by rubbing the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I pulled the pressure fit stinger out of the tenon. I would leave it out to improve the airflow in the pipe.I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.   This Champion Giant Algerian Briar French Made Rusticated Chunky Bent Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The style of rustication that is used around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Champion Chunky Bent Billiard is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 80g/2.79oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Chunky Rusticated Champion Giant Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from a fellow in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. The pipe is a classic Chunky rusticated Billiard shaped pipe with an interesting rustication around the bowl and shank. The pipe is stamped on a smooth panel on the underside of the shank and reads Champion [over] Giant. On the top of the shank next to the stem it is stamped FRANCE and on the underside of the shank it is stamped next to the stem/shank junction and reads ALGERIAN BRIAR. There were three small dots in a row on the left side of the taper stem. There was a lot of grime ground into the rusticated finish on the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with tobacco debris in the bowl. The rim top had an overflow of lava on the filling in the rustication and the inner edge of the rim. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There was some light oxidation on the stem surface. It was a large, chunky pipe and it had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks.   Jeff took photos of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. The rustication pattern around the bowl is unique and interesting. It is a really tight pattern. The stamping on the underside of the shank and shank ends are clear and readable and read as noted above.   I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c8.html) to get a quick view of the Champion Brand. I had worked on several of the brand in the past but could not remember anything about the brand. Turns out it is Swiss Made and the three dots on the left side of the stem in the first picture below match the one I am working on. The issue from me is that it is stamped France on the band around shank end. That leaves me with a question mark.Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl look very good. The inner edge has some damage on the front of the bowl. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.     The stamping on underside of the shank is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The wide taper stem is nice and the photo shows the inner tube in the tenon.I cleaned up the rim top with a brass bristle wire brush. I scrubbed off the top of the rim with the brush and was able to remove the tars and lava in the rustication on the rim.   The bowl was in excellent condition so started by rubbing the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The rustication came alive. I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded out the tooth chatter and marks ahead of the button with 220 grit sandpaper. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.   I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Champion Giant Algerian Briar French Made Rusticated Chunky Billiard is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The style of rustication that is used around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Champion Chunky Billiard is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 83g/2.93oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store in the French Pipe Makers Section shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

New Life for a Jobey Asti Classic 470 Bent Pot


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table is one that came to us from a pipe hunt along the Oregon Coast, USA. It is a nice looking bent pot shaped pipe with a mixed finish. It is stamped on the left side of the shank Jobey over Asti. On the right side it reads France [over] the shape number 470. The vulcanite saddle stem bears an inlaid brass Jobey oval. The pipe has an interesting mixed finish – smooth upper portion of the bowl and shank is smooth and nicely grained while the bottom of the bowl and shank have a tight dark rusticated finish. The finish is fairly clean so the grain stands out well. It has a shiny top coat of varnish which makes the finish look good on both halves of the bowl. There was a light cake in the bowl and some spots of lava onto the rim top. There were some nicks on the outer edge of the rim and the top itself but none were too bad. The stem was lightly oxidized and it had some shallow tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem was screwed onto the shank with the Jobey Link system which was in excellent condition. I took some photos of the pipe before I did any clean up.    I took photos of the rim top and the stem. The photo of the rim top shows the cake in the bowl and the light lava on the top as well as the nicks in the flat top of the rim. The stem photos show light oxidation and some tooth chatter and tooth marks.   I took photos of the stamping on the right and left side of the shank. The stamping is clear and reads as noted above.   I removed the stem from the shank and took a photo of the parts to give an idea of the flow and form of the pipe. It is a nice looking bent Pot. I reread several of the blogs I have written on the brand in the past restorations of Jobey pipes and decided to include the material on the brand before I write about the cleanup of the pipe. Here is the link to the blog (https://rebornpipes.com/2020/04/03/restoring-jennifers-dads-jobey-asti-245-pot/). I quote:

I turned to Pipephil’s site for a quick review of the brand (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-j3.html). I quote a section of the post on the Jobey brand: These pipes are made in St Claude (France) by Butz-Choquin (Berrod-Regad group) since 1987. Before this date some were manufactured in England and Denmark (Jobey Dansk).

I turned then to Pipedia to gather further information regarding the brand and quote the first part of the article (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Jobey).

English – American – Danish – French… Sadly, solid information about Jobey is scant…

Probably established in England around 1920(?) the brand hiked into the USA later. In the course of time owner, distributor and manufacturer changed repeatedly. As far as is known the following companies have been involved with the brand:

George Yale Pipes & Tobacco, New York (1942)

Norwalk Pipe Co., New York (1949)

Arlington Briar Pipes Corp., Brooklyn (when?)

Hollco International, New York (1969).

Weber Pipe Co., Jersey City, NJ (1970’s)

The Tinder Box, (1970’s – 80’s).

Throughout decades Jobey pipes were mainly sold in the USA, Canada and England but remained almost unknown in continental Europe. The bulk of Jobeys was predominantly made according to classical patterns and mainly in the lower to middle price range. The predominant judgment of the pipe smokers reads: “A well-made pipe for the price.” So there is hardly anything very special or exciting about Jobey pipes although a flyer from ca. 1970 assures: “The briar root Jobey insists upon for its peer of pipes is left untouched to grow, harden and sweeten for 100 years. […] Jobey uses only the heart of this century old briar and only one out of 500 bowls turned measures up to the rigid Jobey specifications.” 99.80% of cull… that makes the layman marveling!

Now it was time to work on the pipe. I reamed the pipe with a PipNet Pipe Reamer and took the cake back to bare briar. I cleaned up the remnants of the cake in the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. I sanded the bowl with a piece of 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel.   I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up the damaged inner edge of the rim. I cleaned up the edge and removed the damaged briar on that portion of the bowl. Once I finished it looked much better than when I started.  With the externals cleaned I moved onto the shank. I scrubbed the internals of the shank and mortise, the vulcanite stem and the shank with pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and alcohol. I worked on them until they were clean.     I polished the bowl and rim top with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiping the briar down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad.     I rubbed the bowl down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the rustication on the underside of the bowl and shank and the smooth portion of the bowl and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine.   I set the bowl aside and turned my attention to the stem. I sanded it with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the tooth marks and chatter and blend them into the surface of the vulcanite. I started polishing the stem with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    I polished the vulcanite with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with a damp cloth after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem.      Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the Jobey Asti Classic Pot back together and buffed the bowl and stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the combination of rustication and smooth finishes. The black vulcanite stem stands out as a shiny black contrast to the colours of the bowl. It is a light weight pipe that could be clenched and smoked while doing other things. Have a look at it with the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 ¾ inches, Height: 2 inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 58grams/2.01oz. This one will soon be on the rebornpipes online store. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

Breathing Life into a Custombilt Imported Briar English Squat Bulldog


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from an online auction in 2018 from Frisco, Texas, USA. The pipe is a classic Custombilt piece – a rusticated squat English Bulldog shaped pipe with some nice grain around the bowl. The pipe is stamped on the left side of the shank and reads Custombilt [over] Imported Briar. On the underside of the shank on the left it is stamped next to the stem/shank junction with the shape number 17. There was a lot of grime ground into the smooth and rusticated portions of the finish on the briar. The bowl was heavily caked with tobacco debris in the bowl. The rim top had an overflow of lava on the smooth rim top and inner edge of the rim. The inside edges looked to be in good condition. The stem was dirty and lightly oxidized. It had tooth chatter and marks on the top and underside near the button and on the button edge. There were not markings or a logo on the saddle stem. It had promise but it was very dirty. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he started his cleanup work. He took photos of the rim top and bowl to give a clear picture of the thickness of the cake and tobacco debris as well as the light lava on the rim top. He also took photos of the top and underside of the stem to show the light oxidation and the chatter and tooth marks. Jeff took photos of the side and heel of the bowl to give a picture of what the briar looked like. The rustication pattern around the bowl is instantly recognizable as done by Custombilt. The stamping on the left topside and left underside of the shank is clear and readable and read as noted above.   I turned to Pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-c8.html) to get a quick view of the brand once again. I knew that I was working with one of the older pipes and probably made by Tracy Mincer himself. He stopped making the Custom-Bilt pipes in the early 1950s. The screen capture I included below shows a brief history of the brand. I quote from the side bar in the above screen capture and have highlighted in red the pertinent part of the article.

Chunky bowls with rough carving or gouges.

Tracy Mincer stopped making Custom-Bilt pipes in the early 1950s. The trademark was successively bought by Leonard Rodgers (1953), Consolidated Cigars (1968) and Wally Frank Co. (early 1970s). The later began to produce again his version of the pipe in 1974 or 1975 at Weber pipe factory (NJ). In 1987, the pipes were made out of the Butz-Choquin factory (France) and then Mexico until the late 1990s. Currently (2010), the Custombilt name is owned by Tobacalera of Spain which is part of Altadis.

It is generally admitted (but not proved) pipes stamped “Custom – Bilt” (with the hyphen) are from the Mincer era. The name might have changed from Custom-Bilt to Custombilt (without the hyphen) in 1946.

I turned to Pipedia and found the following advertisement for the Custombilt line that I am working on (https://pipedia.org/wiki/File:Custombilt_Shapes.jpg). The logo on the advertisement is the same and the shape I have circled in red in the advert below is the same shape number as the one that I am working on.  The majority of the information on the rest of the site was two book reviews of the Custom-Bilt Story by Bill Unger. I did a screen capture of the stamping that matched the stamping on the pipe that I am working on. In the early 1970s, Wally Frank Co. bought the Custombilt trademark and began to produce their version of the pipe in 1974 or 1975. Hollco Rohr owned the Weber pipe factory, located in New Jersey, and produced the Custombilt pipes there.

Armed with that information I turned to work on the pipe itself.  Jeff had cleaned up the pipe with his usual penchant for thoroughness. He reamed the pipe with a PipNet pipe reamer and removed the rest of it with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife.  He scrubbed the bowl with undiluted Murphy’s Oil Soap with a tooth brush. He rinsed it under running warm water to remove the soap and grime. He cleaned out the inside of the shank and the airway in the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer and rinsed it off with warm water. I took photos of the pipe before I started my part of the restoration work. The rim top cleaned up really well. The rim top and outer edge of the bowl look very good. The inner edge has some damage on the front of the bowl. The stem surface looked very good with a few small tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button.    The stamping on top left of the shank is clear and readable. It is stamped as noted above.I removed the stem and took a photo of the pipe to give a sense of the whole. The wide saddle stem is nice and the photo shows the step down tenon.I cleaned up the inner edge of the bowl with a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the damage. Once I had smoothed out the edge the bowl was ready.   I polished the smooth briar around outside of the bowl and the rim top with micromesh sanding pads. I sanded it with 1500-12000 grit pads and wiped the bowl down with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust.  The bowl was in excellent condition so started by rubbing the bowl and shank down with Before & After Restoration Balm. I worked it into the surface of the bowl sides and shank with my fingertips and a horsehair shoe brush to clean, enliven and protect the briar. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The grain came alive.  I set the bowl aside and turned to work on the stem. I polished the vulcanite stem with micromesh sanding pads – 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped it down with Obsidian Oil after each sanding pad. I used Before & After Pipe Polish – both Fine and Extra Fine to further polish the stem. This Custombilt Imported Briar Squat English Bulldog is a great looking pipe now that it has been restored. The style of rustication that is used around the bowl is quite beautiful and works well with both the shape and the polished vulcanite taper stem. I put the stem back on the bowl and carefully buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel using a light touch on the briar. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax on the buffing wheel and followed that by buffing the entire pipe with a clean buffing pad. I hand buffed the pipe with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished Custombilt Bulldog is another pipe that fits nicely in the hand and feels great. Give the finished pipe a look in the photos below. The dimensions of the pipe are Length: 5 inches, Height: 1 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 inches, Chamber diameter: 7/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 48g/1.69oz. I will be putting it on the rebornpipes store shortly. If you are interested in adding this pipe to your collection send me a message or an email. Thanks for reading this blog and my reflections on the pipe while I worked on it. There are many more to come!

A Dirty Gourd Calabash Brought Back to Life


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother Jeff saw this pipe he went for it. He picked it up May of 2018 from an online auction from Lusby, Maryland, USA. This pipe appeared to be in rough shape. The meerschaum cup/bowl was full and top was filthy. It had definitely seen better days. Jeff seems to be drawn to the Gourd Calabash pipes so he continues to pick them up. There is no identifying stamping on the pipe – not on the bowl, gourd, shank or stem. It is unidentifiable. The shape and composition reminds me of many of the Pioneer Calabash pipe I have worked on but this one remains a mystery. The meerschaum bowl had a chip in the lower edge and was dirty with a thick cake and tobacco debris inside. With the bowl removed the calabash interior was also quite dirty with buildup of tars and oils. There was a heavy overflow of lava on the edges and the rim top that made it hard to know if the rim edges were damaged. The grime and dirt had been ground deeply into the finish of the gourd exterior. The briar shank extension was lifeless and dirty looking. The stem was calcified and heavily oxidized and was a mottled brown in colour. There was light tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stem near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup. You can see from the photos the issues that we would be dealing with in the restoration of this pipe. The next photos show the bowl and rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava and grime on the top. You can also see the likelihood of damage to the rim edges but also that it is impossible to know what it would look like once it was clean. The photos of the stem show a mottled appearance from the oxidation and some light tooth chatter and marks on both sides of the stems.   Jeff took a photo of the chip on the meerschaum cup and the joint of the briar extension and the gourd. The joint between the extension and the gourd does not align and there is an edge on the top and bottom where they don’t match up.   Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff had worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He scraped the bowl clean with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scraped the rim top with the edge of the knife to remove the lava coat. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the gourd exterior bowl, the meerschaum bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He worked on the interior of the gourd at the same time. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The cleaning of the stem raised more oxidation in the vulcanite. He put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer to remove the oxidation. The tooth marks and chatter looked pretty good at this point. I took photos of the pipe before I started.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top is pitted and scratched and the inner edge of the rim is rough and damaged. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near and on the button.   I took the meerschaum bowl/cup off the gourd and the stem from the shank to show the parts. It is a great looking gourd that has a well curved shape. The briar shank extension also looks very good. The underside of the meerschaum is darkened but otherwise in excellent condition.  I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the damage on the inner edge of the rim top. I was able to smooth it out and preserve the roundness of the bowl. I was happy with the results that will become clearer in the photos of the polishing of the bowl with micromesh sanding pad. I set the meerschaum bowl aside and turned to work on the shank extension. I sanded the joint of the briar and the gourd with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the transition without damaging the shank or gourd. I wanted to remove the lip on the top side of the briar and the underside of the gourd. Once finished it looked and felt much better.  I rubbed the gourd down with Before  and After Restoration Balm to clean and rejuvenate the  gourd and give the calabash and briar a fresh look. I used some Vaseline to rejuvenate the cork gasket in the gourd. I rubbed the Vaseline into the cork, let it sit for a while and repeated the process until the cork came alive and was more elastic than it was when I started.When the cork had absorbed the Vaseline and was soft once again I pressed the meerschaum bowl into place in the calabash. It fit snugly in the bowl and looked very good.  I was able to polish out the majority of the scratches in the meerschaum and the patina in the meerschaum rose to the surface or the bowl. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.     I really enjoy finishing the work on a pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Gourd Calabash back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the gourd and stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished meerschaum bowl looks like with the smooth finished gourd and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished Gourd Calabash is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 6 inches, Height: 3 ½ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 2 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: 1 1/8 of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 56grams/1.98oz. This is one that will go on the Meerschaum Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.     

New Life for a Sandblast Savinelli de Luxe Milano 506 Panel Billiard


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother Jeff saw this pipe he went for it. He picked it up from a fellow in Pocatello, Idaho, USA. This pipe appeared to be in rough shape. The bowl was full and the sandblast was filthy. It had definitely seen better days. However, there was something about the shape that caught Jeff’s eye. The stamping on the underside of the shank reads de Luxe [over] Milano. That is followed by the Savinelli S shield logo and the shape number 506 over Italy. It is faint but readable with a loupe and light. The bowl and shank are sandblasted with a rugged blast and the panel sides all have indents where the blast went deep into the grain. It is an interesting pipe. The stain on the bowl is a medium brown that highlights the sandblast finish. It is a panel billiard with a square shank and a saddle vulcanite stem. The pipe was dirty with a thick cake and tobacco debris in the bowl. There was a heavy overflow of lava on the rim top that made it hard to know if the rim edges were damaged. There were dark areas on each side of the bowl. The grime and dirt had been ground deeply into the sandblast finish. The stem was calcified and heavily oxidized and was a brownish green colour. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button and on the button surface itself on both sides. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup.The next photos show the bowl and rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava and grime on the top. You can also see the likelihood of damage to the rim edges but also that it is impossible to know what it would look like once it was clean. The photos of the stem show a lot of tooth chatter on both sides of the stems. There are also some tooth marks on the button top and bottom.   The sandblast finish on the bowl, though dirty, showed interesting patterns – straight grains and birdseye. There were also some swirls in the grain. The photos also show some darkening on each side of the bowl and some dark spots. The stamping on the underside of the shank is faint but readable. It reads as noted above. I had a vague memory that there was a great photo of the same pipe in a smooth finish on the Pipephil site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-savinelli1.html). I turned there and sure enough it was not only a De Luxe it was also a 506 Panel Billiard with a smooth finish. I have included a screen capture of the section from that site below. There was also a link to a series of shape charts for Savinelli Pipes that I have found helpful in the past (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/infos/savinelli-chart.html). I did a screen capture of the section of the chart that included the 506 shape. Now it was time to work on the pipe. Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The cleaning of the stem raised more oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks and chatter was clean but visible. I took the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and totally forgot to take pictures of the pipe before I started. I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good and the bowl is spotless. The rim top is heavily darkened and stained. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near and on the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was faint but still readable. It reads as noted above.  The stem has a brass bar on the left side of the saddle.  I started my work on the bowl by dealing with darkening around the bowl sides. I took photos of the darkening. I poked and probed them with a dental pick to check on the integrity of the briar and it was solid. I also worked the areas over with a brass bristle brush and was able to remove some of the darkening. There was no cracking or checking on the inside of the bowl in each of those areas so I was fairly certain I was dealing with darkening caused by the oils of the pipeman or woman’s hands who had previously smoked the pipe. I would need to stain the pipe to deal with the dark areas. I stained the bowl with an aniline Light Brown stain. I was surprised at how dark it came out on the bowl itself. I applied the stain and flamed it with a lighter to set it in the grain. I set it aside while I had dinner to let the stain cure.   After dinner I took the pipe off the cork rest and took photos of the newly stained bowl. You can see the depth of the blast in the photos below.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the surface of the stem and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining tooth marks on the button surface with clear super glue. I used a file to smooth out and shape the button. I smoothed out the remaining repairs with 220 sandpaper to blend them and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.     I scrubbed the stem with Soft Scrub All Purpose cleaner to remove the residual oxidation on the stem surface. The product works very well to cut through residual oxidation on vulcanite.  I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.     I really enjoy finishing the work on a pipe because I love bringing it back to life and then administering the final touches that make it sing. I put the Savinelli De Luxe Milano 506 Panel Billiard back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl multiple coats of Conservator’s Wax and worked it into the deep sandblast with a horsehair shoe brush. I gave the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite saddle stem. This richly finished De Luxe Milano Panel Billiard is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ¼ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 33grams/1.16oz. This is one that will go on the Italian Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.           

Breathing new life into a sandblast SON Brandy Stack – an early pipe by Eric Nording


Blog by Steve Laug

When my brother Jeff saw this pipe he went for it. He picked it up from an online auction in 2018 out of Champaign, Illinois, USA. The stamping on the underside of the shank reads 5 [over] Hand Made [over] Made in Denmark [over] SON. It is clear and readable with a loupe and light. The bowl and shank are sandblasted with a light blast and the rim top is smooth. The stain on the bowl is a medium brown that highlights the sandblast finish. It is a tall Brandy shaped stack pipe with a tall billiard style bowl. The shank is quite long and the stem is short for a pipe this sized. It works well together. The pipe was dirty with a thick cake and tobacco debris in the bowl. There was a light overflow of lava on the rim top and some damage on the inner edge of the bowl on the front. The stem was calcified and heavily oxidized and was a brownish green colour. There was tooth chatter and tooth marks on both sides of the stem near the button. Jeff took some photos of the pipe before he did his cleanup. The next photo shows the bowl and rim top. You can see the cake in the bowl and the overflow of lava and grime on the top. You can also see the damage to the front inner edge of the bowl. The photos of the stem show a lot of tooth chatter on both sides of the stems. There are also some tooth marks on the button top and bottom.   The sandblast finish on the bowl, though dirty, showed interesting patterns – straight grains and birdseye. There were also some swirls in the grain. The photo below shows what the finish looked like and under the grime it looked good. The stamping on the underside of the shank is very readable. It reads as noted above. The two photos below show the vertical stamping on the underside of the shank.  I turned to a blog I had written in 2017 on a SON pipe to get a quick confirmation of the identity of the pipemaker. I was pretty certain it was Erik Nording but I wanted to check my memory by a quick reread (https://rebornpipes.com/2017/12/06/breathing-new-life-into-a-son-freehand-an-early-nording-pipe/). I quote below:

I decided to do a bit of research on the brand to see who made the SON brand. I looked first on Pipephil’s site http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html. I quote from a note on the site next to photos of the stamping on the pipes of that brand.

“The brand’s name stems from a partnership between Soren Skovbo and Erik Nording. It lasted for two years in the mid-1960s before the partnership ended and the brand ceased. That dates this pipe to the 1960s.”

I looked on Pipedia for further information: https://pipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%B8rding. In the listing of pipemakers by country the entry for SON linked back to Nording pipes. I went to that page and read the following information. I have included a portion of that article below that gives the pertinent connections.

Long before he graduated from engineering school at age 25 he was a more experienced pipe smoker than most men his age. He frequented a pipe shop in Copenhagen and often had his pipes repaired there. “The guy who did the repairs in that shop” says Nording. “could see that it was a good business, and he wanted to start his own pipe making shop.” That repairman’s name was Skovbo. One day he approached the young Erik Nording with a proposition. “You are a blacksmith and an engineer,” Skovbo said to Nording. “You must know a lot about machinery. Can you make me some pipe making machinery?”

“I told him I could make anything he wanted,” says Nording. “But I didn’t have any money. So I borrowed S200 to buy some bearings, and I scoured junkyards for old broken machinery. I bought inexpensive housings and put in new bearings and new shafts.” It was Nording’s first contract and he wanted to get a good start, so he took great care in making the best possible tools for the pipe maker. “I made him a little polishing machine, and a lathe, and a sander for shaping pipes.” When he had everything put together and running perfectly, he called Skovbo and told him his machinery was finished.

“He came out and looked it over,” says Nording. “He turned on the electricity and watched everything run. He had some blocks of wood with him, and he tried everything out. Finally he looked at me and said, ‘It’s exactly as I wanted. Perfect. How much do I owe you?’ I told him the price—I don’t remember how much it was, but it was very inexpensive.”

Skovbo thought the price was very good. “That’s fantastic,” he said. “The price is right. Now I’ll start out for myself, make some pipes and when I earn some money I’ll pay you.”

It must have been a terrifically discouraging moment for a young man who had just completed what he thought was his first paying job in a new career. As Erik Nording now remembers that moment, sitting in a beautiful home that contains a pipe making shop large enough for 20 workers making tens of thousands of world-famous pipes, his face exhibits amusement at that memory. But back then, as a youngster trying to get a foothold in the world, his expression must have been more akin to horror.

“I told him that was not good enough,” says Nording. “I told him I was a poor man, I didn’t have any money, I needed to be paid for my work.” But Skovbo told Nording that he couldn’t pay him.

“Then I will keep the machinery,” said Nording. “I’ll make pipes myself.”

“You don’t know how to use this machinery,” said Skovbo. “You know nothing of pipe making.”

“Well, you’re not getting it. You should have told me before I did all this work that you didn’t have the money to pay for it.”

Skovbo thought it over. “Why don’t we start together?” he said.

That’s how Erik Nording became a pipe maker.

There are still a few of those early pipes around. “I saw some at a shop I visited a while back,” says Nording. “The shop owner offered to give them to me as mementos but I refused. They may be worth quite a bit of money to collectors. You never know”…

Those first pipes carried the name SON”, which was an acronym for the combination of the names Skovbo and Nording. Each of the partners borrowed $5,500 to get the business going, to rent a space and get the electricity turned on and to buy two bags of briar. Skovbo taught Nording how to make pipes, “but I didn’t have much time because I was still studying,” says Nording. “And I never got the chance to learn much from him, because shortly after we started he said that I would never be a pipe maker, he said that my hands had no skill for the craft, that I could never learn. I never understood how he could make such a judgment, but he did.”

To his credit, Nording shows no sign of triumph in the fact that he has proved Skovbo wrong by becoming one of the best-known pipe makers in the world. “He said that he would continue with SON pipes alone, that he no longer needed me,” says Nording. However, the partners had a legal agreement that whoever wished to dissolve the partnership first would leave the company to the remaining partner and be paid off without interest over five years. So Nording became the one to keep the company…

…Nording continued with SON pipes for only a year or two before changing the company name to Nording in the mid-’60s. “I figured nobody could ever take that name away from me,” he says. Nording’s were exclusively freehand shapes, graded from A, B, C, D, up to its highest grade, extra. Later an “F” grade was added—less expensive than the “A.”

Jeff worked his magic in cleaning up this pipe. He reamed it with a PipNet reamer and smoothed the walls of the bowl with a Savinelli Fitsall pipe knife. He scrubbed out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with alcohol, cotton swabs and pipe cleaners. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl, rim and shank with a tooth brush and Murphy’s Oil Soap to the oils and tars on the bowl, rim and shank. He rinsed it under running water. He dried it off with a soft cloth. The cleaning of the stem raised more oxidation in the vulcanite. The tooth marks and chatter was clean but visible. I took the stem off and put it in a bath of Before & After Stem Deoxidizer and totally forgot to take pictures of the pipe before I started.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good and the bowl is spotless. The damages on the front inner edge and rim top are very clear in the photo below. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the underside of the shank. The stamping was clear and readable. It reads as noted above. I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe.I started my work on the bowl by dealing with the damaged rim top and inner edge. I used a folded piece of 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the edge and bring the bowl back into round. I worked out the damage on the rim top at the same time.  I polished the smooth rim top with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust.   I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point.   I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the surface of the stem and was able to lift them significantly. I smoothed out the remaining tooth marks with 220 sandpaper to blend and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper.    I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.   I really enjoy finishing the work on a pipe because I love the final touches that make it sing. I put the Nording Made SON Tall Brandy back together and lightly buffed the bowl with Blue Diamond. I buffed the stem with a heavier touch with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly finished SON Brandy by Erik Nording is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy smoking it. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 inches, Height: 2 ¼ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ¼ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 42grams/1.48oz. This is one that will go on the Danish Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.

 

Restoring a Beautiful Bari Select nature Old Briar 7963


Blog by Steve Laug

The next pipe on the work table came to us from one of Jeff’s pipe hunts in Utah, USA back in 2018. Now I am finally getting a chance to work on it. The pipe is a classic Bari Bent Dublin like pipe. The pipe was a mess which probably accounted for how we ended up purchasing it for a fair price. On the left side of the shank it is stamped with the Bari [over] Select nature [over] Old Briar. On the right side of the shank it is stamped Made In Denmark [over] the shape number 7963. The mix of stains makes the grain just pop even with the grime ground into the finish. It was very dirty with dust and debris in finish. There was a thick cake in the bowl and an overflow of lava on the rim top that is heavier on the back of the bowl. The edges look to be in good condition as far as we can tell until we clean up the pipe. The stem was oxidized, calcified and there were deep tooth marks and chatter on both sides near the button. The stem had a white Bari stamp on the left side of the fancy saddle. Jeff took photos of the pipe before he started working on it. I include those below.

Jeff took photos of the bowl and rim top to show the cake in the bowl and the condition of both. It was heavily caked with a lava overflow on the rim top. The inner and outer edges look very good. He took photos of the top and underside of the stem showing the oxidation and tooth marks on the stem surface and button.  In person the tooth marks are far deeper than they look in the photos.  Jeff took a photo of the heel and the side of the bowl and shank to show the grain on the pipe. It is a beauty.Jeff took photos to capture the stamping on the sides of the shank. It is clear and readable as noted above.   He also took a photo of the Bari stamp on the left side of the stem. I turned to Pipephil’s site (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-b1.html) to see if I could find a listing for the Bari Select nature Old Briar with this four digit number. There was nothing specifically listed for this line of Bari pipes. There was also good info on the brand as a whole and that it was founded by Viggo Nielsen in 1950 and he ran it until 1978 when Age Bogelund managed the production for them. In 1993 it was sold to Helmer Thomsen. I have included a screen capture of the section below.Pipedia gives a great history of the brand (https://pipedia.org/wiki/Bari) that is well worth reading. There were also photos of the Bari stamping on the Select nature Old Briar line of pipes.

Jeff reamed it with a PipNet pipe reamer and cleaned up the reaming with a Savinelli Fitsall Pipe Knife. He scrubbed out the internals of the shank and stem with alcohol, pipe cleaners and cotton swabs until the pipe was clean. He scrubbed the exterior of the bowl with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a tooth brush to remove the grime and grit on the briar and the lava on the rim top. The finish on the bowl looked really good when I got it. The rim top looked very good. He soaked the stem in Before & After Deoxidizer bath to remove the oxidation. The stem looked better other than the light oxidation that remained and the deep tooth marks and chatter on the surface. When the pipe arrived here in Vancouver for the second stop of its restoration tour it looked much better than when he found it. I took photos of the pipe before I started my work on it.  I took photos of the condition of the rim top and stem before I started working. The rim top looks very good and the bowl is spotless. The stem has light oxidation remaining and some tooth chatter and marks on both sides near the button.   I took a photo of the stamping on the sides of the shank. The stamping was faint but readable. It reads as noted above.   I took the bowl and stem apart and took a photo of the pipe to show the look of the pipe. I polished the briar with micromesh sanding pads – dry sanding with 1500-12000 grit pads. I wiped the bowl down after each pad with a damp cloth to remove the sanding dust. I worked some Before & After Restoration Balm into the finish of the bowl, rim top and shank with my fingertips to clean, enliven and protect it. I find that the balm really makes the briar come alive again. The contrasts in the layers of stain really made the grain stand out. I let the balm sit for 15 minutes and then buffed with a cotton cloth to raise the shine. The bowl really looks good at this point. I set aside the bowl and turned my attention to the stem. I “painted” the tooth marks on the surface of the stem and was able to lift them significantly. I filled in the remaining spots with super glue. Once the repairs cured I flattened them out with a file to bend them into the surface. I further smoothed them out with 220 sandpaper to blend and started polishing with 400 grit wet dry sandpaper. I polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding it with 1500-12000 grit pads. I polished it further with Before & After Pipe Stem Polish – both fine and extra fine.    I touched up the Bari white logo on the stem with Liquid Paper. Once it dried I buffed off the excess with a cotton pad. I wiped the stem down with Obsidian Oil once more. Once again I am the part of the restoration that I always look forward to – the moment when all the pieces are put back together. I put the pipe back together and  buffed the bowl and the stem with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel. I gave the bowl and the stem multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad to raise the shine. I hand buffed it with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. It is fun to see what the polished bowl looks like with the smooth finish and the black vulcanite stem. This richly stained Bari Select nature Old Briar 7963 Dublin is light weight and ready for you to load up a tobacco of preference and enjoy breaking it in. Have a look at it in the photos below. The dimensions are Length: 5 ½ inches, Height: 1 ¾ inches, Outside diameter of the bowl: 1 ½ inches, Chamber diameter: ¾ of an inch. The weight of the pipe is 18grams/.63oz. This is one that will go on the Danish Pipemakers section of the rebornpipes online store shortly. Thanks to each of you who are reading this blog. Remember we are not pipe owners; we are pipemen and women who hold our pipes in trust until they pass on into the trust of the next generation.